The organizer of the Love Parade music festival says he plans to post on the Internet up to 22 hours of security footage showing that police were to blame for a deadly stampede that broke out at the festival entry point.
The stampede left 21 dead and hundreds injured
In the ongoing blame game over a deadly stampede at Germany's Love Parade in July, the organizer of the dance music festival has vowed to post on the Internet 22 hours of video depicting the tragedy.
Rainer Schaller, whose company Lopavent runs the Love Parade, told German news agazine Der Spiegel on Saturday he would post the closed-circuit footage in an attempt to show that police were to blame for a deadly crush that occurred when thousands of festival-goers became trapped in a tunnel at the sole entry point to the festival grounds.
Twenty-one people died in the tragedy in Duisburg on July 24 and more than 500 others required hospitalization.
Schaller said the footage shows that police committed a tactical error when they formed cordons in an attempt to prevent the crush.
"We have assembled the facts, everything we could see, and noted it all down exactly," he said. "We are going to publish the complete video files on a Web site. More than 22 hours (of video). Everyone should get their own impression of what happened.
Schaller, right, says someone must take moral responsibility for the tragedy
"The cordons led to a stoppage and were probably the cause of the disaster," he said. "To our minds, the question is why the police did this."
The North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Ministry denied that police played a role in causing the lethal mass panic.
"The event's organizer asked for police assistance because his security concept fell apart," Police Inspector Dieter Wehe told reporters Saturday. "He had agreed to close the entrance gates. That did not happen."
According to German mass-market daily Bild, the videos are scheduled to be released early next week.
Police and Duisburg officials lined up against the Love Parade organizers in the days and weeks following the stampede in an effort to deflect blame for the incident.
Despite being at the center of the storm, Schaller said "moral responsibility" for the stampede must eventually be assigned.
"I was the organizer and these people would not have died if this event had not taken place," he said. "Who is actually to blame must be established by the legal system. Obviously I will face up to responsibility."
Author: Darren Mara (dpa/AFP)
Editor: Sean Sinico